Master the float play in no limit hold’em

When playing poker, there are opportunities that we can take advantage of even though we have no merit in creating them. These are only the exception to the rule though and they are so few that are difficult to prepare for, not to mention that the context greatly differs from one case to another. What really matters is to create your opportunities, because by doing so you will be in complete control from the moment the cards are being dealt and until the showdown.

Floating is a concept familiar to those who play a lot of poker online, but beginners sometimes mistake it for a continuation bet. There are some similarities, but the differences are obvious for those who know what to look for. Unlike a continuation bet, a float bet follows a call made pre-flop and even limpers can use this trick to convince their opponents that they hold the better hand. Furthermore, it is recommended to make a float bet only when you are in late position and ideally play against a single opponent.

The reason for why it is advisable to find yourself in a heads-up situation, is that you have fewer players to worry about and the risk of the bet to backfire is minimal. You need to play your cards well and take advantage of your table image, with anything in the tight-area being beneficial for this type of play. One good example is when a player holding two face cards or an ace with a decently high kicker, simply calls a raise pre-flop and sees a board that doesn't improve his hand.

If he is playing from a late position, there are two possible actions depending on what the player before him does. The outcome is pretty much the same though, cause if a check is made, the bet with follow and if the first player bets, the one floating will raise him. Despite the fact that he suspects to have the worse hand, the floater tries to be mislead his opponent into thinking that he is slow playing a hand. The decisive move needs to be made on the turn, and this is where things turn interesting.

In the overwhelming majority of cases, if the initial bettor continues with another bet despite being raised it is recommended to give up the hand. On the other hand, if he shows any signs of weakness by checking his hand, this is a good indicator that the float has reached its goal and another bet should trigger an immediate mucking of the hand. A sensible use of the float bet can lead to the winning of significant pots, but abusing it or using it in unfavorable circumstances is very dangerous for beginners, because they risk becoming pot committed. Moreover, if you have just started your poker career, it is highly recommended to avoid this strategy as you may end up pretty bad. However, if you have started to learn it, do not abuse of it.